The early unforced errors of the Bill de Blasio administration culminated in a wave of bad headlines and a City Hall press conference walkout that left "an angry, disbelieving pack of reporters" in the mayor's wake. Then a poll put his job approval rating at 39 percent. And yet it was all smiles today — granted, it was sunny and warmish out — as de Blasio worked a little Ellen-at-the-Oscars charm offensive with his occasionally adversarial beat reporters.
Last night, news broke that President Obama would appear on an episode of the web sketch show "Between Two Ferns." It was hard to believe. Then the episode was released this morning and it was even harder to believe: Obama didn't just do "Between Two Ferns," he did "Between Two Ferns." He took host Zach Galifianakis's harsh burns and hit back with even harsher ones — "If I ran a third time, it’d be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn’t really work out very well, did it?" — all in the name of promoting the Affordable Care Act. To find out exactly how it happened and what it was like to work with the Commander-in-Chief, we spoke with Scott Aukerman, host of IFC's Comedy Bang! Bang! (the third season premieres on IFC on May 8) and executive producer and director of "Between Two Ferns." He talks about how the White House let them get away with basically everything, how the president was easier to work with than some celebrities, and what it was like to give notes to the most powerful man on earth.
President Dad-Jeans #Normcore is in town this afternoon ahead of an exclusive $32,400-a-head fund-raiser, and he's spending the intervening hours as a man (from out of town) of the people. At the Gap. On 42nd Street.
Basically, Obama is channeling The Office's Michael Scott, who once said, "I always like to come to New York a little bit early and hit some of my favorite haunts," like Sbarro for "a New York slice."
A failed animal rescuer will be charged with animal cruelty after crates of dead birds were pulled from the house she shared with her elderly mother. Of the hundreds of pigeons, seagulls, loons, and a few other animals the 54-year-old Gretchen Rell was apparently hoarding, only 18 birds were found alive. Rell, a 15-year volunteer with the Monmouth County SPCA who worked nearly every day at a bird care center, will now be barred from volunteering. “This is what happens to people that are well intended that get overwhelmed,” said an SPCA enforcement officer, in a bit of an understatement.
Part of what makes sex-crimes police procedural Law & Order: Special Victims Unit bearable is that it’s a fantasy. Not the sex crimes part. The swiftness and proficiency with which Detective Olivia Benson catches rapists (44 minutes) is soothing to watch because, in real life, only 3 percent of rapists ever see jail time, according to RAINN. So it’s nice to know that SVU star Mariska Hargitay is not just profiting off ripped-from-the-headlines wish fulfillment. She's also working to close the gap between the reality and Law & Order.
It has returned. The scent of meat that loomed over New York Times business reporters more than two years ago is back ... with a vengeance? "Several BizDay employees were suffering health effects, including burning eyes and breathing issues, from what had been dubbed a 'meat cloud,'" the Newspaper Guild reports in an updated complaint, citing Wolfgang's Steakhouse downstairs as the more than likely culprit. But seriously: Is Andrew Ross Sorkin going to be okay?
The idea that it is important to safeguard the dignity of the presidency is one of those ideas, like “reducing deficits is always good,” that’s shared so widely within official Washington that it is considered a bland truism rather than a point of view. Sometimes the shared concern for the dignity of the office becomes a shield on the president’s behalf, as when reporters fretted that a conservative reporter tarnished the dignity of the office by shouting questions at President Obama.
President Obama’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis has prompted another round of worried harrumphing, this time not posed in opposition to Obama’s rude interrogators, but to Obama himself, for engaging in unpresidential comedy. (Which is to say, comedy that is not in the form of trading safe, knowing one-liners as the dinner speaker at a gathering of elite journalists.)
Steve Cohen's embattled hedge fund is getting a new name. The former SAC Capital, which bore Cohen's initials for more than two decades, will now be known as Point72 Asset Management, after 72 Cummings Point Road, where the firm's office is located.
After "a thorough investigation," the death of a 22-year-old Queens woman in a shady, pay-by-the-hour Meatpacking District hotel last summer has been pinned on a registered beautician from New Jersey. Police say Tamira Mobley committed manslaughter and assault when she administered silicone injections to Tamara Blaine (pictured) and then "left her patient writhing and foaming at the mouth for 90 minutes before summoning help." This is becoming a problem.
Matthew Power, a contributing editor at Harper's and frequent writer for GQ and Men's Journal, has passed away at the age of 39. "It is believed that he died of heat stroke and exhaustion" while working in Northern Uganda, reports Outside, another regular home for Power's dispatches from across the globe. "He was an enormous talent who will be greatly missed."